From Equestrian Trails to Entrepreneurial Triumphs: The Inspiring Journey of Emily Hartstone

By Guillaume Jean Lefebvre

In the bustling world of entrepreneurship, there are stories that stand out as beacons of inspiration, and Emily Hartstone's journey is undeniably one of them. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Emily's early years were shaped by a passion for riding and training horses, eventually propelling her to the international stage of equestrian competitions.

The turning point in Emily's life came at the age of 17 when she relocated to Delray Beach, Florida, to pursue her equestrian dreams. Little did she know that her path would take an unexpected turn due to a diagnosis of Graves' Disease and Leukemia. Forced to pivot from her equestrian career, Emily's resilience and entrepreneurial spirit shone through.

At just 17, Emily founded Hartstone Bows, LLC, seizing a market opportunity in the equestrian world. Her handmade, crystal-adorned bows quickly gained popularity and were featured in major national equestrian catalogs. However, life had other plans for Emily when health challenges led her to a career shift.

Her entry into the events industry was serendipitous, sparked by her observation of the complexities behind organizing large-scale events during a convention. This experience led her to a role as an assistant to a convention's Director of Events, reigniting her entrepreneurial fire. Despite battling health issues, Emily's determination led her to climb the corporate ladder, eventually founding her own company, From The Hart Management, LLC.

Emily's journey is marked by accolades and accomplishments. She holds an MBA with a specialty in Hospitality and Tourism and has successfully organized events for renowned organizations. Her commitment to putting people before profit became the driving force behind her companies, a philosophy reflected in her daily work and community contributions.

Notably, Emily founded the EmPOWERThePATIENTS Foundation, advocating for chronic illness and rare disease patients. Her dedication to philanthropy earned her an Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism and recognition from the Global International Alliance Program.

In the professional realm, Emily's achievements are celebrated, including being named the Top Motivational Entrepreneur & Speaker of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals and receiving the Empowered Woman Award. Her impact extends to being featured on the NASDAQ Billboard in Times Square, earning a seat on the Forbes Business Council, and winning multiple prestigious awards.

Despite facing ongoing health challenges, Emily continues to make an impact. Her latest venture, HartCenteredLife™, an online education platform, aims to empower individuals on personal and professional journeys. Additionally, her collaboration on HART's Purpose™ jewelry line, supporting leukemia patients, showcases her commitment to making a difference.

As Emily pursues her future projects and goals, including advocating for pediatric patients through a second foundation, her story serves as a testament to resilience, compassion, and the power of purpose. In her own words, Emily aims to leave behind a legacy of inspiration and kindness, making the world a better place—one "HART"felt decision at a time.


1: Your journey from the equestrian world to entrepreneurship is fascinating. Could you share a specific moment that was the catalyst for your transition into event management and the creation of your company, From The Hart Management, LLC?

During my equestrian days, I gained invaluable experience working for a friend's mother, traveling to conventions to promote her products. I was fascinated by the event planner's energetic coordination and the intricate planning that each event entailed. When an unforeseen twist in life presented me with the opportunity to dive into this industry, I embraced it wholeheartedly, fully aware of its value. My inaugural project was a 3,000-person convention in Las Vegas, where I thrived amidst the exhilarating complexity of orchestrating such a grand event. It was a whirlwind of continuous challenges, unexpected issues needing swift resolution, and the essential task of maintaining a calm and composed demeanor among attendees. While others on our team felt overwhelmed by the stress, I found myself energized and deeply engrossed. It was in that dynamic environment that I realized this was my calling. Additionally, the immense satisfaction of witnessing a client's joy when months of collaborative effort culminate in a successful event is indescribably rewarding.

2: Your experience as a professional equestrian has shaped a significant part of your youth. How have these years influenced your entrepreneurial skills and your current approach to work?

My early experiences as a competitive equestrian instilled in me a set of values that have profoundly shaped my professional journey. The intense dedication and hard work required of equestrians are often underestimated. I personally cared for my horses, waking up in the pre-dawn hours to clean their stalls, feed them, bring them to their paddock outside (to play) and back, etc. During this time, I balanced my training with education, often completing schoolwork from my hometown (before I moved to FL) while sitting on the ground, waiting for my horses to finish their meals, before embarking on a full day of training. This routine would end with another round of cleaning and feeding, followed by a few hours of rest. This regimen cultivated a deep sense of responsibility within me.

Moreover, my experience taught me the value of loyalty. The unique bond formed with an animal when you are directly involved in their care, and they are ten times your size, is unparalleled. They respond with greater trust and cooperation, a lesson that resonated deeply with me. While many in my field opted to hire help for these tasks, I chose to do them myself, strengthening this bond.

The equestrian adage of 'when you fall off a horse, you get back on' was not just a saying for me, but a lived reality. This resilience has been a guiding principle in both my business ventures and my personal health challenges, teaching me to never give up.

These early experiences forged my work ethic from a very young age. Today, I apply the same level of commitment and dedication to my clients, friends, and community, ensuring that the values learned in those early mornings and long training days continue to influence every aspect of my life.

Lindsay Moore - @wildorchidmedia
Devyn Russell - @simplygreat_productions
Model: Emily Hartstone - @empromo_hart
Clothes: White House Black Market - @WHBM / Venus - @venus
Jewelry: HART's Purpose/Deep Purpose Jewelry @deep_purpose

3: Establishing Hartstone Bows at such a young age is impressive. How did you navigate the challenges of starting and managing a business while juggling your equestrian and educational responsibilities?

I was fortunate to have a father who was a serial entrepreneur. His expertise was invaluable in guiding me through the intricacies of establishing my company and making astute business decisions. However, balancing the high demand for the bows with my rigorous training schedule and school commitments was challenging. I dedicated my evenings to producing the bows, which, I must candidly admit, often resulted in poor time management and minimal sleep.

As the business grew and the volume of orders exceeded my capacity, I recognized the need for additional help. It was then that I enlisted the support of my mother and some friends, who became instrumental in assisting with the bow production. This step was crucial in ensuring the continued success and scalability of the venture.

4: Your diagnosis of Graves' Disease and leukemia undoubtedly altered the course of your life. How did you overcome these health challenges, and what lessons have you drawn from them, both professionally and personally?

Well, I am still in the midst of my battles and will have to face these challenges for as long as I'm here. When I initially had to change my path, it felt as though my life was suddenly ripped out from under me, leading to a brief pity party. However, I deeply believe that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is not immediately apparent. This belief prompted significant self-reflection and led me to the understanding that my purpose is to help others. Just as a restaurant owner gains insight from every role, from dishwasher to host(ess), my experiences are essential to my ability to aid others effectively.

One of my first hurdles was navigating a career transition, mindful of the looming medical expenses. Successfully addressing this challenge brought a sense of relief and clarity about my mission to help others. My journey through the health system, fraught with difficulties, inspired me to establish my foundation for rare diseases and chronic illness. It was a pivotal moment when I realized my life's work was about creating positive change.

I practice the Silva Method daily, a form of mind control meditation, and live by the mantra 'mind over matter.' Sometimes, I almost convince myself that I am not battling illness. Discussing it, even now, feels like I’m speaking about someone else. Of course, there are days when the pain or the effects of chemotherapy are overwhelming, and I find myelf curled up in bed crying – I never want to give a false or unrealistic sense of positivity. But surrender is not in my vocabulary.

Living with purpose and consistently contributing to the welfare of others gives me a compelling reason to wake up each day. This sense of purpose fuels my perseverance. It has also profoundly influenced my professional life, instilling in me the belief that the only obstacle I face is myself. This mindset is how I continue to move forward, undeterred.

5: From Hartstone Bows to From The Hart Management, LLC, and now to HartCenteredLife™, your entrepreneurial journey is diverse. What skills or experiences do you consider crucial in the development of your career?

I firmly believe that the foundation of success lies in a combination of education and real-life experiences. Being the youngest of five, I remember the emphasis on college admissions during my middle school years. Nowadays, the landscape has transformed with a plethora of excellent business courses and online programs available. I have a voracious appetite for learning and continuously seek to educate myself.

While I uphold the value of traditional education, I also recognize that the accessibility of online resources has opened doors for many aspiring entrepreneurs. These resources, coupled with practical experience in the field, hard work, and the right mindset, create a pathway to success for anyone.

My own journey included a significant tenure at a nonprofit management company, spanning about six years. This period was an intense learning curve for me, where I absorbed a wealth of knowledge. As I gradually took on more responsibilities, managing day-to-day operations, it laid the groundwork for me to confidently establish my own business. During the same time, I furthered my education and received nonprofit credentials from NANOE. This blend of formal education and hands-on experience has been instrumental in shaping my entrepreneurial path.

6: As the founder of the EmPOWERThePATIENTS Foundation, could you tell us more about your deep motivations to support patients with chronic and rare diseases, and how this cause influences your approach to business?

My initial diagnosis shattered my belief that doctors had all the answers to health issues. I had naively thought that a visit to the doctor would be a straightforward solution to illness. The reality of needing up to eight doctors for an accurate diagnosis was a startling revelation. My path to proper diagnosis was fraught with discouragement. Encounters with unhelpful office staff, dismissive doctors, and a sense of defeat became part of my daily struggle.

However, everything changed when I watched "The Mayo Clinic Movie," which highlighted the importance of listening to patients. This prompted me to fly across the country to the Mayo Clinic, where I experienced a stark contrast in care. Diagnosed within a day, I finally felt a glimmer of hope.

On my return flight, I was determined to share my experience and prevent others from enduring similar hardships. My experiences of misdiagnosis, inappropriate medications, and 'medical gaslighting' - a term I learned later - were harrowing.

This led to the birth of EmPOWERThePATIENTS. Our mission is to guide rare disease and chronic illness patients through the daunting healthcare system, especially when they feel on the brink of giving up. We emphasize that doctors, being human, can err. Seeking a second opinion is not only acceptable but necessary, and in some cases a third and forth. Our platform also aids in finding specialists and provides educational resources about nutrition for autoimmune diseases and other crucial information.

Living with chronic illness comes with unique challenges, understandable only to those experiencing it. We use tools like 'The Spoon Theory' to explain the realities of chronic illness to family and friends. Our aim is to ease the lives of those affected, offering a supportive community and a wealth of resources.

My aspiration is to alleviate the trauma I endured for others. By sharing my experience and resources, I hope to bring comfort and guidance to as many people as possible.

7: The accolades you've received, such as the honorary doctorate in humanitarianism and the title of Top Motivational Entrepreneur & Speaker of the Year, are impressive. How have these recognitions influenced your perception of your impact in the business and philanthropy world?

This has always been a challenging type of question for me to answer. It feels somewhat wrong to receive an award for what I consider simply being a decent human being. Nonetheless, I am profoundly honored and deeply grateful. Receiving the award from the International Association of Top Professionals was not just an accolade; it introduced me to a family of individuals who share similar values and visions, which is incredibly meaningful to me.

The moment I was awarded the Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism marked a pivotal point for me. It prompted me to pause and truly reflect on the impact of my efforts. This recognition has only fueled my desire to do more, driven by the knowledge that my work is effecting change, whether it's on a small or large scale.

In today's world, where turning on the news often means confronting a barrage of negativity, my aim is to contribute some positivity. I strive to add a bit more light in whatever way I can. I often think about the profound difference it would make if each person committed to doing just one positive thing for their community every week. Such collective action could transform the world into a remarkably different place.

8: With your venture, HartCenteredLife™, into online education, what are your aspirations for this platform, and how do you envision inspiring and supporting those who join it?

I envision HartCenteredLife™ as the enduring legacy I leave behind. This platform is uniquely designed with various 'areas' or 'schools' of learning, allowing me to focus on diverse topics such as EmPOWERThePATIENTS and healthcare, business, and everyday mindset. It fosters a sense of community, akin to how Slack operates, where everyone can engage collectively while also having access to their distinct spaces.

Through this platform, I am thrilled about the prospect of educating and inspiring a wide array of individuals. It feels as though all my past experiences and endeavors have converged to lead me to this exciting venture. The potential of HartCenteredLife™ fills me with immense anticipation and enthusiasm, as I believe it truly encapsulates everything I've worked towards.

9: Your collaboration on the HART's Purpose™ jewelry line, supporting leukemia patients, is commendable. How do you plan to expand this business in the future and contribute further to raising awareness of serious illnesses?

While I can't reveal all our plans, I can assure you we have some truly exciting developments ahead. Dorothee Kumpe, a dear friend and the mastermind behind our physical jewelry designs, consistently crafts stunning new pieces. We're particularly thrilled about our upcoming 'convertible' jewelry line and the imminent introduction of 'smart' jewelry. This innovative addition is something we're really looking forward to.

The smart jewelry line is designed to support the well-being of individuals facing health challenges. It's not just about aesthetics; it's about making a meaningful impact. Moreover, we're actively collaborating with various artists and companies to broaden our reach and heighten awareness. These partnerships are vital to our mission and contribute significantly to what we aim to achieve.

10: Addressing your current health challenges, how do you find the balance between your career and personal well-being? And how has your personal experience influenced the creation of the EmPOWERThePATIENTS Foundation and other health-focused projects?

I must confess, achieving balance is not my strongest suit. The burden of substantial medical bills, often categorized as 'research' or not covered by insurance, is one of the driving forces behind my intense work ethic – my very survival hinges on it. Despite this, my passion for what I do is so deep that working 18 or 19-hour days doesn't feel burdensome. However, my body sometimes disagrees, necessitating a few days of rest before I can dive back in with renewed vigor.

Every challenging encounter in my medical journey fuels my determination to effect change and spare others’ similar trials. This is profoundly reflected in my work with EmPOWERThePATIENTS. We maintain an active presence on Instagram, and I personally ensure that I respond to every message we receive. This initiative is not just a project; it's a cause that resonates deeply with me and is very much at the heart of everything I do.

11. If you could give advice to your younger self or to those currently experiencing challenging times, what would it be?

It may sound cliché, but truly, aim for the stars and never surrender. I am a living example that anything is achievable if you set your mind to it. Despite medical experts predicting a limited timeline for my life, I continue to work every day, defying those expectations. Remember, the only one who can truly hold you back is yourself. It's important to recognize that it's not the person who fails, but sometimes ideas do. These setbacks are valuable learning opportunities that can be transformed into greater successes with the right adjustments and persistence.

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